South Africa can’t escape the R-Word where it’s as embedded as the well-known products Marmite and Handy Andy. And in the small town of Knysna, where rich and poor areas are alongside (or have a clear view of) one another, racism is particularly unavoidable.
Yesterday, i posted a brief blog entitled ‘Knysna’s Overweight Law Enforcers’ with a photograph of a local traffic officer’s bum. That has yet to go out to my mailing list but the even shorter version on my Facebook prompted an outcry by some that had little to do with the topic itself. Accusations of racism and not accepting women for who they are were fast and fat. I deleted the worst remarks but there are still enough there to demonstrate the point. None who knew and defended the subject in the photo realised the irony in that they’d recognised her from a photo of her bum.
One commentator aptly responded with, “This has been blown out of proportion. He merely posed a question regarding our safety and the people who protect it, instead it turned into Feminist Apartheid V2. It was a reasonable question to ask in a democratic society that cares about the safety of its citizens.”
The goal was to simply question the health of our local law enforcement and SAPS officers. I was emphasising the topic after Mike Wood, the same day, had blogged about 3 unfit cops, opposite the Knysna police station (nogal) had let a suspect get away. Notably, a well-frequented KFC is opposite the police station. He included a picture of a fat, presumably male belly – no objections. I posted his link on my Facebook too – there were no objections.
I had clearly stated what my blog was about. I had removed the traffic officer’s face. I had asked 2 men who had recognised her anyway to please not mention her name – they didn’t. So why was there hatred from some? And why were white people who agreed with me considered to be racists even though that made no sense as colored and black people had agreed too? One seemingly black consciousness supporter whose Facebook profile is a black Jesus reckoned that a harassment charge should be opened against me. Paradoxically, my ‘fat post’ was immediately after advertising the celebration of Haile Selassie 1’s Earthday by the local Rastafari community of Judah Square.
The true racists were those finding racism where there wasn’t any, pursuing their own agenda of wanting white people to look bad – justifying hate at the expense of logic is unfortunately far too common in South Africa. The irony is that i’m the only person i know in Knysna addressing the racial divide publicly e.g. , ‘Black People versus White People’, ‘I Am Not Ashamed to be White’, ‘Racism is Still Ugly’, the need for black tourists and understanding what they want, the sharing of a video demonstrating racial profiling, Kay Sexwale’s incredible letter to Zuma, ‘The New Apartheid’, a racist experience as a child as an intro to my questioning apartheid in Knysna and more. ‘Conquering the Knysna Undynamic’ led to starting Knysna Keep, 413 000 words ago.